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Archive of posts filed under the Teaching category.

NCTM Annual 2017

Image result for 2017 nctm annual meetingI’m excited to be heading to San Antonio in April for the 2017 NCTM Annual Meeting!

NCTM’s annual meeting brings together thousands of educators from across the country to discuss mathematics, pedagogy, technology, and more.  It’s been many years since I attended an NCTM conference, so I’m looking forward to seeing what has changed in how the organization approaches math teaching, math teachers, and professional development.

I’ll be presenting Making Math in Scratch, a 60-minute session about my work integrating computer programming into math class using Scratch, the free, web-based, block-based programming environment designed by the MIT Media Lab.  The talk is scheduled for Thursday, 4/6/17, at 9:30 am, so if you’re planning on attending the NCTM Annual, please pencil me in!  And if you like, I’d be happy to give you a pre-conference homework assignment.

Conferences like this are great opportunities for professional growth, but the logistics are often complicated for classroom teachers.  I’m fortunate to have received support from Math for America and the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, which makes attending NCTM’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio possible.

MfA Workshop — Mathematics and Scratch

Tonight I’ll be running a workshop at the Math for America offices in New York City on Mathematics and Scratch.

I’ve been working to incorporate more computing into my mathematics courses, and Scratch, the free, web-based, block-based programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab, has become an invaluable part of my approach to teaching basic mathematical computing and simulation.

In my workshop participants will engage in elementary mathematical explorations in Scratch that span the mathematics curriculum, from Algebra and Geometry to Calculus and Statistics.  We’ll solve some mathematics problems using computer science and some computer science problems using mathematics!  And I hope that teachers will leave with some ideas about how to get their own students making math in Scratch.

After the workshop, I’ll be posting links and resources here.

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Math Horizons Editorial

math-horizons-november-2016-coverI am proud to have contributed an editorial to the November issue of Math Horizons magazine, a publication of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

In my essay, “I Love Teaching Math, Maybe You Will Too“, I attempt to convey the excitement, challenge, and fulfillment of being a math teacher.  Those who study math have many career options, and while math teacher is not necessarily a glamorous job, it can be a great one.  And one that I think deserves more consideration.

The essay appears in the Aftermath section of the magazine, and is available both in print and on the MAA’s blog.  You can read my essay here, and see the full November issue of Math Horizons here.

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SIAM ED16

siam-ed16I’m excited to be heading to Philadelphia this weekend for the SIAM Conference on Applied Mathematics Education (SIAM ED16).

I’ll be presenting on the work I do with mathematical simulation in Scratch, and I’m really looking forward to the variety of talks on bringing applied mathematics and computing into classrooms.  In particular, I’m excited to hear Maria Hernandez from NCSSM talk about how to teach modeling and Gil Strang from MIT talk about the teaching of Linear Algebra.

You can learn more at the conference website, and see the full conference schedule here.

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Varignon’s Theorem

Varignon’s Theorem is one of my favorite results in elementary geometry:  connect the adjacent midpoints of the four sides of any quadrilateral, and a parallelogram is formed!  It is a magical result that defies expectations, and it’s so much fun to play around with, explore, and extend.

Steven Strogatz shared his favorite proof of Varignon’s Theorem on Twitter yesterday, and so I felt compelled to share mine.  This is a standard proof of Varignon, but it is so clean and elegant:  it is an immediate consequence of the Triangle Midsegment Theorem and the transitivity of parallelism.

Proof of Varignon

Strogatz’s vector proof is beautiful and efficient, but the power of transitivity really shines in this elementary geometric proof.

I created a a simple Desmos demonstration to explore Varignon’s Theorem.  And like all compelling mathematical results, there are so many fascinating follow-up questions to ask!

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